The Failures of Pandemic Central Planning

23 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2021

See all articles by Phillip Magness

Phillip Magness

American Institute for Economic Research

Date Written: October 1, 2021


This study examines the performance of disease modeling during the covid-19 pandemic, and its associated effects upon the public health measures adopted to mitigate its course. Specific attention is given to the failure of the Imperial College model, which severely overstated mortality in 189 out of 189 countries under both its "do nothing" and "mitigation" models, and 170 out of 189 countries under its extreme "suppression" model. The Covid-19 policy response is analyzed as a failure in central planning, with specific attention to the public health dimensions of the same. Public health is identified both historically and in the present day as being acutely susceptible to knowledge problems, which in turn foster the conditions for a public choice trap that causes proposed policy measures to become ineffectual or even counterproductive in disease mitigation.

Note: Funding: None to declare.

Declaration of Interests: None to declare.

Keywords: Public Choice, Covid, Imperial College

JEL Classification: I18

Suggested Citation

Magness, Phillip, The Failures of Pandemic Central Planning (October 1, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Phillip Magness (Contact Author)

American Institute for Economic Research ( email )

PO Box 1000
Great Barrington, MA 01230
United States

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